Fuel “disaster” on Smith River Complex


I’ve not verified this yet, but I will. Read more at the link.


We do not have a fuel disaster taking place.  We did have a fuel issue that has been resolved. 
Thank you,
Stacy King-Powers
Smith River Complex 


Hotshot Wake Up

Neither the USFS update nor the Inciweb page makes any mention of this.  But then the “Hotshot Wake Up” has no name or contact info attached to it. Anyone vouch for that “author” ?

Forest Service update 09/09/23
Forest Service update 09/09/23
Inciweb update 09/09/23
Inciweb update 09/09/23

And, two days later, an update:
6 Rivers

Thanks to TS for the tip and to Bill Morse for the answers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

17 thoughts on “Fuel “disaster” on Smith River Complex”

  1. I think we are hearing to many of the gas/diesel mistakes around the country. Florida, Texas, Oklahoma. People aren’t trained or don’t care. I was in the portable base retardant business and something like this could shut down fire support helicopters. Need a real through investigation if true.

  2. God help those kids! My son is on that fire with Hat Creek Ranger District. Lord, please bring all of them home safe!!

  3. I’ve never heard of him. But then I emailed the IMT on the Smith River Complex several times and have not heard from them either.

  4. I drive a diesel truck. Every freaking time I fuel up I stick my finger in the fuel flow, then smell it, confirming it’s diesel. Even fueling stations have had diesel tanks contaminated with gasoline. Happened to a friend, it was an expensive error for Chevron.

  5. Really? A Boomer former firefighter here and pilot

    TIME for everyone to go back to to school and EVEN WATCH the fueling process go on like they tell us pilots when we pull into a Fixed Base Operator (FBO)

    Time for all the GS6s and above to mentor, teach, instruct…whatevs the flavor of English language

    I, too, have stayed up past the proverbial 2200 – 0600 rules to ensure engines and aircraft received the right fuels and as former GS6 STOOD by my engine with my crew and either checked the pumps or asked the vendors what the fuel was that was being delivered.

    I was reminded that not many “ranch kids” are being hired much anymore. Ranch MIGHT have something to do with it with different fuels “on the farm.”

    But it sure seems the “supervisors” need some edumacation, too……………..GS6s and ABOVE!!!!

    An alert like this only points at MANY a problem and training being delivered!

  6. If you want to talk about finger on the pulse, and getting information out and deciding with a keen eye for discretion, the hotshot wake-up is one to follow. Reliable?, more like real. If you are currently rolling around or work closely with the actual boots on the ground it would be fully apparent that he is letting folks in on the truck convos, discussions, thoughts and feelings to the current state of things. Everything from workforce morale, employee satisfaction, motivation to continue, justification to bag the whole thing, smelly sock, short tempers, bad food and even worse leadership. Kick out six bucks and listen/read for a while. It’s for the cause. Do I agree with everything? Absolutely not, but do I hear opinions while I work that I think philosophically I cannot agree with, but can empathize with the stance and see the ridge from someone else’s boots. We don’t all think the same way, but if we buy in on duty, respect, and integrity to build the deepest bond of trust… there is everything to achieve.

  7. I stand corrected since I did not see the update

    Vendor issue and a quite spendy one

    Just like some folks dispensing DEF in a couple of biz jets either mistaking for Prist and creating complete engine shutdowns as I recall

  8. The hotshot wakeup author also makes up stories to fit his agenda. He used to work for me before I cut him loose for numerous reasons not appropriate to mention here. He had the opportunity to actually be truthful in most the drama he spins, but that went out the window early on. Integrity, ha, laughable.

  9. The unfortunate thing about Tim @ The Hotshot Wakeup is that he is able to quickly gather a following of folks who don’t know any better. Folks who may take every single one of his words at 100 percent truth.

    Obviously, he does bring a fresh take on wildland fire “news” and commentary, and brings rapid fire updates and information (that may they may have not otherwise learned) to the social media community, BUT as previously mentioned here, brings his own agenda and take on the things he “reports” on.

    Sensationalism sells though, and hopefully some of the newer folks are able to expand their horizons and get a better view of events by getting info from other sources instead of a single source.

  10. Thanks, Helitack.
    He’s tried several times to contact me and I have suggested he post his remarks and contact info here but so far he’s declined. Kinda reminds me of Mellie-Said (and Ab and Old Ab and Original Ab) — remember when she used to actually Q&A herself on her website? 🥸

    I’m still embarrassed that I fell for his drama-queen post on the fuel issue. Not that I buy the USFS PAO version — which I do not — I am pretty sure the facts actually lie somewhere between their story and Casperson’s. Gabbert told me a LOT of stuff about a LOT of readers and tipsters and contributors over the years, but unfortunately he never mentioned this dude and I’d not even heard of him before this so-called “disaster.” … Lesson learned.

  11. No problem, Kelly. He’s an emerging player in the social media realm, and has grown a following quickly by using pages from certain playbooks. I’ll give props; this new age of clickbait sensationalism drives engagement and grants “success”… but at what cost?

  12. Whether you consider this fuel incident a “disaster” or not, it sounds like a real problem at the time, especially not knowing how many vehicles were involved and having to significantly modify operations on a fire like that. Plus the logistical issues of having to move around personnel with broken vehicles, feed/house them in the field if that was the case, tow that many vehicles, the potential damage to vehicles, etc.

    I don’t really see the problem in the initial report from the Hotshot Wakeup that others are upset about. Looks like he released the information as things were evolving, the day it happened, with the limited information he had. I like it. I also like the blend of wildfire news, opinion, entertainment, advocacy, etc. on his podcast and substack. He’s a very good writer, much better than myself. I agree with Tim Donohoe’s comments above. I also like the podcast format. When I’m on fires I don’t normally have time or maybe internet to read webpages like this, but I can often find time to listen to podcasts on the drive to the fire or back, downloading while in cell coverage if needed. It’s also a good format to engage with the younger generation.

    I think it’s a bit harsh to call Tim of the Hotshot Wakeup a “drama-queen”. I feel like that’s uncalled for. I’ve only talked with Tim of the Hotshot Wakeup on the phone once, so I can’t vouch too much for his character as others have alluded to above, I don’t know. But he treated me well in our limited interaction and I appreciate his work. I listen to most of his podcasts and like them. Others can have different opinions and that’s fine.

What do you think?